Fledgling

A small bird
On a narrow branch
Where pale new leaves are springing.

Will her soft feathers
Withstand the winter wind;
Does her timid, unpractised eye
Spy the fat, fallen grain
And is her grip secure
When the bough bends beneath her?

Would that I
Could cradle her
Forever in my hand,
Shield her from foul weather
And the wickedness I see.

But more than that
I would watch those hard-won wings –
As yet untried, hesitant, uncertain in their strength –
Unfurl and catch the breeze
So that her song and colours
May brighten all the world.

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